In Other Words — Invisible Injury

FD5300A3-5A76-4B67-97A2-47D721BDA967If you’ve ever suffered from a broken rib, then you’ll understand why I call it the invisible injury.

For at least a month after breaking a rib, simple, natural, everyday acts — coughing, sneezing, laughing, blowing your nose, or even pushing out a stubborn poop — can lead to excruciating pain.

You pray that no one comes up to you to give you a hug, to slap you on your back, or even to vigorously shake your hand.

And since you’re not wearing a cast, no one knows that you’ve got a broken rib.

At least when you have a broken arm or a broken leg, others can see that you’ve broken something, so, unlike with a broken rib, your injury is not invisible.


Written for the In Other Words prompt from Patricia’s Place. The challenge this week is to write a story or poem of five lines or fewer using the word “invisible.”

FOWC — A Museum Adventure

4376D02E-9D06-4840-A7BF-F35A02C7B9E7Harold was always a bit of a nerd in high school. While his buddies preferred to be outside playing ball, riding on their bikes, or hanging out at the mall gawking at the girls, Harold loved spending his days at the local natural history museum. No matter how frequently he went there, which was quite frequently, he always felt that his visits would rejuvenate him. They made him feel alive, refreshed, and energized.

One day, a couple of his more rowdy friends from school decided to go to the museum to see what it was that made Harold enjoy it so much. They spotted Harold taking notes in front of one of the displays. Walking up to Harold, they started making fun of him. One of the boys grabbed Harold’s notebook and they began tossing it around playing a game of keep-away from Harold.

Harold lost his temper at the boys and quite a kerfuffle ensued. At one point, the meek and mild Harold lost his temper and punched one of the boys in the nose. Shocked and dismayed, boys ran from the museum.

A very pretty girl walked up to Harold after the incident and said, “Wow, you really taught those boys a lesson. I’m impressed.” She reached out to shake his hand.

Harold wasn’t used to talking to cute girls and, as if having an allergic reaction to her, began to sneeze. When his sneezing finally stopped, he apologized to the girl, saying, “I’m sorry, it must be the dust around here that got up my nose. My name is Harold.” He then took her hand, which she was still offering, and shook it.

“Hi Harold,” the girl said, a big, engaging smile on her face. “My name is Wendy.”

And do began Harold’s first great romance.


Written for the following prompts:

Teresa’s Three Things Challenge where the things are museum, sneeze, and romance.
Word of the Day Challenge, “rejuvenate.”
Your Daily Word Prompt, “kerfuffle.”
And, of course, Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “lesson.”

Photo Challenge — In Black and White

538ED258-D673-4F41-A920-19706EAFFAA2“Did you say you’re taking the shot in black and white?” the model asked.

“Yes, I’ve got the camera set to black and white mode” he answered. “I find that light and shadows are accentuated by the lack of color. And I believe that when you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls.”

“That’s beautiful,” she said.

“Okay, we’re ready. I need you to roll the corner of this tissue into a point, and place it in one nostril,” he explained. “Then gently move it back and forth until you feel a tickling sensation. That will stimulate your trigeminal nerve, which should cause you to sneeze.”

“And then what?” she asked.

“Try to hold it in as long as you can once the urge hits you,” he said. “But when the sneeze comes, let it go. Don’t cover your mouth. I’ve got the lighting set up to capture everything perfectly if only the timing is right.”

“I’ll do my best,” she said. When she felt the need to sneeze coming on, she screamed “Now!”

He depressed the shutter button on the camera just as her sneeze shot out of her mouth. Then he looked at the image he’d just taken through the camera’s digital display. “This is perfect,” he said. “I have captured the essence of the human sneeze. Come see.”

The model came over and looked at the image on the small screen on the back of his camera and all she could say was, “Wow!”


Writtdn for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Image credit: Sylvia Grav.

Ahh-Chooo!

E9E0BEF4-A6FE-4747-A536-8FC1D0806E43Here’s a factoid I bet you didn’t know. A typical sneeze removes air from your body at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. No wonder attempting to stifle a sneeze with that kind of velocity behind it can be challenging…and possibly even dangerous. Yet that is precisely what I’ve been attempting to do for the past month.

During what was supposed to have been a routine dog walk, I seriously bruised the ribs on my left side after falling hard onto the cement sidewalk.

Sneezing when you have injured ribs can be agonizing. And so, since that fateful night a month ago, each time the urge to sneeze comes over me, I do everything I can to stifle the sneeze.

Why not just blow my nose when I feel a sneeze coming on? The mere act of expanding my lungs with enough air to enable a productive nose-blowing puts significant pressure on my ribs. So instead, I pinch my nose, hold my breath, and pray that I can successfully stifle the sneeze and avoid the intense pain.

For the most part, my sneeze prevention approach has worked. But on several unfortunate occasions, the sneeze got the better of me and I would end up writhing in agony for several minutes until the acute pain on the left side of my rib cage eventually settled into a dull ache.

This morning, just a bit over a month after the rib-bruising episode, I once again felt the urge to sneeze coming on. But this time I bravely decided to let it go. I sneezed.

Not once.
Not twice.
But three times.

EUREKA! While I could definitely still feel tightness on the left side of my chest with each sneeze, the feeling was more annoying than agonizing. And being able to experience a full, robust sneeze was amazingly satisfying.

I’m still taking Advil periodically, as the left side of my ribcage remains somewhat tender. But the worst is clearly over and I am thrilled that I no longer need to struggle to stifle that reflexive sneeze response.

All I have to say at this point is “ahhhh.”

Or perhaps I should say, “ahh-chooo”!


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “stifle.”